I’m not big on visualizations. In fact, I initially assumed I would skip the suggestion to do them in The Fertile Female. But then I decided that it was worth a shot. I mean, what did I have to lose? 5 minutes twice a day? I may be busy, but I’m not that busy.
I’ve been doing the first visualization in the book; it’s called New Beginnings. It involves stripping down at the beach, scrubbing your body with sand, cleansing yourself emotionally with your breath, entering the water to let the sand and other muck wash away and then emerging renewed, to dry in the sun. The purpose is to let go of old beliefs and convictions, the negativity in your life that has been weighing you down.
As I said before, I’m not big on visualizations. I never been very good at them. They don’t come naturally to me. I didn’t really understand how visualizing a specific scene would help me work through my “stuff.” I was doubtful.
Then I tried it. And I was surprised.
The first time I did the visualization exercise was at night, right before bed. I sat down, took three deep breathes, focusing on extending the exhale, then began the visualization. I actually have a CD with all the visualizations (I bought A LOT of stuff when I was TTC#1) but I found the recording to be distracting. I understood the scene well enough and figured I could conjure the different steps myself, so I turned off the recording and visualized it without prompting.
In my first visualization, I was walking toward the shore. I threw everything down, piece by piece; first my purse, then my wallet, then my phone, then each article of clothing. I was walking fast, leaving a trail of my belongings in my wake. By the time I got to the shore I was naked, but totally unfazed. It was almost like I didn’t realize I was naked, I was focused on something else.
The waves were crashing hard and fast, as they are wont to do in Northern California. I stood by the water, grabbing handfuls of wet sand, scrubbing vigorously. I realized quickly that I was rubbing too hard. I was angry. There was all this rage inside of me and I was taking it out on myself. I was mad at my body. I was furious with myself. I kept scrubbing, until my skin was red and raw. The freezing water lapped at my feet, numbing them, and I kept scrubbing. I don’t know where the rage was coming from, or why it was directed at my own body, but it was frightening in its strength. By the end of the scrubbing portion of the visualization, I was sobbing.
I took deep breathes, attempting to expel all my negative thoughts. By the time I was done, I felt calmer, my heart wasn’t racing and my tears had stopped. I could taste the salt of my real tears as I dove into the freezing ocean water in my visualization. Immediately my body went numb, as I walked–agitated–through the waves. When I couldn’t stand it anymore, I emerged from the water, toweled myself dry and put on a gauzy summer dress, before walking away down the beach. As I opened my eyes, I could feel the salty remnants of my dried tears crystallizing on my cheeks.
I will admit, that first visualization shook me. I had no idea I felt so much anger toward myself. At first I thought I was angry that my body had not fallen back into the rhythm of its usual cycle, but after thinking about it for a while I saw the truth: I was angry at myself for taking birth control in the first place, for causing the chaos that had thrown everything off. This visualization made me realize that I have to let go of that anger at myself so I can really move forward.
I’ve done five or so of the same visualization since the first one. (Indichova recommends doing visualization exercises twice a day, directly upon waking and right before bed. She also recommends choosing one visualization and working on it for a cycle of 7, 14 or 21 days). In later visualizations I felt very sad, in some I felt acceptance.
In my most recent visualization I stood at the water’s edge and put my purse down, put my wallet gingerly in my purse, zipped my phone into the side pocket, took off each piece of clothing purposefully, folding them and stacking them neatly on the purse, just as I do at the doctor’s office before putting my feet into the stirrups. When I crouched at the water’s edge, scrubbing myself, I thought I was sad, but then I realized that really I was operating inside a lackluster resignation. I didn’t want to do any of it, but I felt it was expected of me, and that really, there wasn’t any other choice. So I followed the prescribed directions, exfoliating my skin without much determination before walking, resigned, into the water, which didn’t seem to have any temperature at all, it just was. I quickly ducked my head under, walked back tot he shore and sat, in my bra and underwear, on a scratchy towel.
It seems clear that my most recent visualization is addressing my reluctance to proceed with Western treatments. I have to dive into it further to determine exactly what I’m trying to tell myself.
All in all, I’m greatly surprised at how much I’ve learned about myself by doing these exercises. It’s clear I have a lot of baggage to sort through and I feel like these visualizations are a powerful tool to help me unpack my feelings. I’m so thankful that I took the time to try this and I hope that continuing with this exercise, I’ll eventually feel more at peace with our circumstances, and better understand what choices I’m comfortable making.